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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, April 30, 2021 – “Study long, study wrong” is the cliché handicappers and horseplayers are counseled and for the most part, it rings true. And TMI—too much information—indeed can be a bankroll killer. But as Gumby might say, “it’s the Kentucky Derby dammit!”

If you are a horse racing fan, and you must be if you’re reading this, you already know as much as you need to know about this cast of Derby-147 characters, which takes us back to the first platitude a gambler hears: “Have a hunch, bet a bunch.”

We’ve studied long and hard and at one time had six different horses in the top slot and the deadline arrived. And so we had a hunch about who might win after the final round of 100-point preps and we’re going to go on record with Known Agenda as the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner.

Known Agenda broke maiden at 2 in his second lifetime start going a mile and an eighth, defeating future odds-on Florida Derby favorite Greatest Honour, winning the race with a career best effort. He enters the Derby with the most distance experience and his pedigree gets one extra furlong.

The Curlin colt disappointed as the G2 Sam F Davis favorite but had mucous in his lungs and could catch his breath until midstretch where he leveled off strongly too late.

For his next start trainer Todd Pletcher added blinkers and he dominated by 11 lengths, setting him up perfectly for his Grade 1 debut. The Derby pace rates to be contested and he will run inside of horses if given a clean trip.

The new 20-horse starting gate mitigates his rail draw somewhat and with today’s late scratch of King Fury, the gate can be placed a little farther out from the rail. He still could get jammed up, but that’s Irad’s job, not mine.

There are six graded stakes preceding America’s Race. Following are the betting grids for all, listed sequentially:

G2 Distaff Turf Mile        Race 6


WIN VALUE:  Blowout (7-2)

EXOTICA:  New York Girl (8-1), Got Stormy (8-5)

G1 Derby City Distaff


WIN VALUE:  Bell’s the One (6-1)

EXOTICA:  Estilo Talentoso (15-1)

G2 Pat Day Mile

MOST PROBABLE WINNER:  Jackie’s Warrior (3-1)

WIN VALUE:  Prevalence (6-1)

EXOTICA:  Dream Shake (7-2), Starrininmydreams (5-1), Noble Reflection (15-1), Three Two Zone (30-1)

G2 American Turf


WIN VALUE:  Du Jour (5-1)

EXOTICA:  Scarlett Sky (4-1), Palazzi (10-1), Royal Prince (12-1), Chess’s Dream (12-1)

G1 Churchill Downs Sprint


WIN VALUE:  Mind Control (6-1)

EXOTICA:  Tap It To Win (8-1), Lexitonian (20-1)

G1 Old Forester Turf Classic

MOST PROBABLE WINNER:  Colonel Liam (3-1)

WIN VALUE:  Digital Age (8-1)

EXOTICA: Domestic Spending (9-2), Ivar (5-1), Masteroffoxhounds (15-1)


MOST PROBABLE WINNER:  Known Agenda (6-1)

WIN VALUE: Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)

EXOTICA:  Highly Motivated (10-1), Essential Quality (2-1), Midnight Bourbon (20-1), O Besos (20-1), Soup and Sandwich (30-1)

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16 Responses

  1. The Kentucky Derby
    1. Highly Motivated
    2. Known Agenda
    3. Essential Quality
    4. Dynamic One
    On my way to get vaccinated. Let’s go get those bad guys-Vin.

    1. Have a safe trip Vin, you and all the horses both, now let’s go get that vax!

  2. Pat Day Mile – Jackie’s Warrior
    American Turf – Winfromwithin
    Kentucky Derby – Super Stock

    Best of luck to all.

    1. Good pick Dan, you’re out for the day! Good luck the rest of the way and may all come home safe.

    1. Essential Quality may have been best except for bumping incident at the break. Also hurt Rock Your World. Baffert continues to amaze with this bargain basement special, Medina Spirit. An exciting race. EQ has nothing to be ashamed of, ran a very good race, IMO. Interested to read JP’s post race commentary.

      1. Yeah, the Jock tried to get in the middle but with too many horses in front,and most of them just blocking the path he tried the wider,faster,safer route but it was a longer road which means that he ran longer and more than all of them. Even if I had the boxed exacta I was rooting for EQ to be able to have enough Oxygen to at least give me a Triple…while thinking ” Hey,both of my ( second automatic “system”) horse are Still in front !! I doubt that ” The Road Not Taken” would not have slowed EQ with so many plodders 8n front of him which IS a Problema with so many horses. Aren’t 14- 15 enough ? $ 500 exacta plus those $ for WP..and still gotta hear ” why didn’t you play the Supah? Greedy gamblers don’t get it ! ” Only a dime a bet” ! Again, we’re talking a different language, a different philosophical view. You play with your $ and head while I play with mine. Haven’t said ” shoulda,coulda” to a player since I got the First Five numbers of a NY lotto payoff. Did not get the last one. Nobody had it,,all of a semi heart attack for a miserable $ 450 ?!?! Don’t wish it on anyone. Arrivederci,y ‘ awl !!🇱🇷🇮🇹🍷😁🍺

    2. Winning after a stumbling beginning over a surface she doesn’t handle well is all about class, and a rider who didn’t panic. More on him later…

  3. EQ Jock tried to get in the middle but with too many horses in front, and most of them just blocking the path; he tried the wider, faster, safer route but it was a longer road which means that he ran longer and more than all of them. Even if I had the boxed exacta I was rooting for EQ to be able to have enough Oxygen to at least give me a Triple. Is it a Problem with so many horses> Aren’t 14-15 enough? Arrivederci 🍷😁🍺

  4. Mr JV who won last year’s Kentucky Derby and yesterday’s big race with the ladies. What a two-day DD! Is it a coincidence that his Big Game batting average has been good? NO! He just rides less. Many of us have followed this Ace horseman since his Angel Cordero’s tutorial while riding, among others, then future father in law L O Brien. When a respected, respectful 47 yr young athlete gets all of what he deserves in life and in his profession another sincere compliment… Buena Suerte, Caballero!🎩🎩 Continued Good luck !😷🎩

  5. You’re stealing a little bit of my advance thunder, JGR. He will be the focus of my post race commentary…

    1. Rosario says he lost an iron on Rock Your World. And Casse said SAS (Soup And Sandwich) had a problem or injury to his soft palate but is fine and bouncing around the barn. Casse also said, “…and we’ll be back in another 364 days to have Baffert beat us again.”

      1. All legitimate excuses to me. Love Casse, refreshing to see a trainer with a sense of humor…

    2. JP,you know how much NY area horse players have respected JV since the early 90 s . Not Jeter-like but pretty close for those who have bet on horses from the Big A to Belmont,Saratoga ,Gulfstream and in those remaining big money races in the rest of the country. An Exemplary athlete,gentleman who was welcome into a racing family and then marrying a nice looking,horse-smart woman. Has anyone ever heard Anything negative about this classy jockey in an industry full of cheaters,druggies,,drunkards,losers and ruffians ? He has stood out among most,if not all of them,while doing his thing..winning and not bragging. Look with which trainers he has won these BIG races? A bunch of Hall of Famers ! Last year he was rudely insulted to suggest that he wanted to ride a horse which already had another chosen rider by winning the biggest race,the Kentucky Derby. What a ( quiet but Strong) statement ! He deserves a standing Ovation if not by the absent public , by the jockey colony and its representation of PuertoRican and Latino jocks.. I know that i Will salute him when i Will get close enough in the Belmont stands.. That’s the least that I can do,just like thousands of other fans . Thanks !🍷

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